The Knicks Took Down The Sixers In Game 6 To Move On To The Conference Semis

The New York Knicks are headed to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In the final game in what will go down as an instant classic series, New York managed to walk into Philadelphia and take down the 76ers despite blowing a 22-point first-half lead. With Jalen Brunson leading the way in the city where he turned into the best college basketball player in America, New York picked up a 118-115 win to secure a 4-2 series victory.

The Knicks came out like a house of fire to start the first quarter. Despite being the road team, New York raced out to a 17-4 lead, and after Philly was able to temporarily stop the bleeding, the Knicks then went on to go on another run. This one — a 16-4 stretch — gave them a 33-11 lead.

To make matters worse for the Sixers, during that stretch, Joel Embiid had to exit the game. But something funny happened: While Embiid leaving games has been the team’s death knell for years, Philadelphia was able to go on an 11-0 run without his services towards the end of the first. It still wasn’t pretty, but only being down 36-22 was far more respectable than what the earlier part of the quarter was trending towards.

Slowly but surely, the Sixers chipped away in the second. The team scored 11 unanswered points early on in the quarter to get the lead down to three, and eventually got it down to two as they started to bottle up the Knicks on the glass, which was a major problem in the first quarter.

Philly kept chipping away, and with 1:37 left in the first half, the moment came when Kelly Oubre drilled a three from the corner to finally put them ahead.

The hero of the half — which ended with Philly taking a 54-51 lead into the locker room — was Buddy Hield, who scored two total points in the first five games of the series. In the opening 24 minutes this time around, Hield had 17 points off the bench and hit five of his seven attempts from three, providing a shot in the arm that the Sixers desperately needed.

Embiid had 17 points and eight rebounds, while Nic Batum came off the bench and gave Philly 10 points. New York was paced by 16 points from Brunson, 12 points from Donte DiVincenzo, and 10 points by Isaiah Hartenstein, but did not get a single point from anyone off of the bench.

The third quarter got taken over by Embiid and Brunson — the former had 16 points in the period, while the latter had 11.

While the Sixers were able to get up by 10 in the third, though, New York battled all quarter. And with the last bucket of the frame, Josh Hart got the ball out to OG Anunoby in the corner for a wide open three that tied things up at 83 heading into the fourth.

And at the very start of the final frame, that duo linked up once again to put the Knicks back in front.

The non-Embiid minutes to start the fourth were an issue for Philly, but by the time he came back in with 8:54 left in regulation, New York was only able to extend its lead to four. And right as Embiid came in, Tom Thibodeau decided to take out Brunson, which led to a stretch where the Sixers outscored the Knicks by four to tie things right back up.

Immediately upon checking back in, Brunson drilled back-to-back threes to spearhead a 13-3 run in which he scored 11 points, as Philadelphia just had no answer for his shot making and ability to get to his spots.

Anunoby silenced the Sixers fans in Wells Fargo Center with just under three minutes remaining by driving through the rim and throwing down with one hand, but it didn’t lead to a dagger. Philadelphia continued to fight and chip away at the lead, and with just over a minute left, an Oubre tip slam cut the lead down to one.

An incredible finish by Brunson while getting fouled extended the New York lead to three, but he couldn’t convert from the free throw line, which opened the door for something weird to happen. And on the ensuing possession for Philly, something weird happened, as Tyrese Maxey drove to the rim and got fouled without finishing his layup. The catch: The referees slowed it down and determined that Hartenstein committed a goaltend, and after Maxey hit the free throw, things were all level with 35 seconds remaining.

The ensuing Knicks possession featured their best punch. With the Sixers trying to heat up Brunson, Hart was left wide open at the top of the key. It took him a second to decide to shoot, but he knocked it down nonetheless.

Philly opted to take advantage of Embiid being guarded by Anunoby by having him take a two, which meant they had to foul. But New York broke their pressure and took time off the clock, and even worse, Embiid took the foul that sent DiVincenzo to the line, which led to him fouling out. Things turned into a free throw battle, and on Philadelphia’s final possession, a heave by Hield came nowhere close to going in.

Brunson’s 41 points and 12 rebounds led the way for the Knicks. DiVincenzo pitched in 23 points, while Anunoby had 19. New York’s starters scored 113 of their 118 points on the night. As for Philly, Embiid had 39 points and 13 rebounds, while Hield had 20 off the bench. Maxey and Oubre both had 17, and Batum gave them 16 off the bench.

Earlier in the night, we learned that the winner of this series would take on the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals after Indiana won its series against the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.